Sunday, October 28, 2007

"The "business bitch" is back."

And all I can say is not soon enough:
(Edit: I received an email from a confused reader who missed part of what I bolded. The article below refers to Hamilton, but can easily happen in any municipality in Ontario)

Unions feed at the trough
Hard-working families take tax hit

Insiders say city officials were shocked to find out that on Sept. 12 the Ontario Labour Relations Board officially certified the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBCJA), Local 18, as the bargaining agent for all construction carpentry work. How it came about was two of four carpenters employed by the city voted to certify, in what some say is a new expansion strategy for the union.

Big deal, you may think, it's only four employees, who do odd jobs for the city.

Well, think again. The ramifications are huge.

Now this union has control of every construction job under city auspices -- meaning only Brotherhood unionized contractors can bid on city work, shutting out non-unionized shops and workers.

Put another way: The city has a list of 260 large construction contractors.

Only 17, or 7%, are members of UBCJA, who can bid on jobs.

And this monopoly will cost big time. A report by city solicitor Gary Kuzyk estimates this monopoly could cost city coffers $4 million to $10 million a year. It's also expected to add up to $440 million to the $1.1-billion cost of critical upgrades to Hamilton's water and waste facilities.

Here's what this carpenter's union pays, according to a schedule negotiated by the provincial government: An hourly rate of $32.16; vacation pay at $3.22, health fee $2.50, retiree subsidy 10 cents, pension $6, for a total of $43.98 an hour. Then there's a union administration fee of 25 cents, an apprentice fund fee of 54 cents and $1.36 for the carpenters promotion fund.